The mystery of Utah's freshman class officially has been solved: The kids are good. Make that darn good.
Utah's gymnastics team was unsure just how good it could be this year with a rookie class competing in more than half the routines.
Now, four meets into the season, Utah coaches have their answer.
"They're doing a nice job, a very nice job," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "Maybe that is an understatement. We are talking about a lot of things we need to work on in the coming weeks, upgrades and landings, but I can't be disappointed with how the team is performing."
The Utes saw their 20-meet home winning streak end with a 196.825-196.5 loss to No. 2 Stanford on Friday, but even in defeat there were good points. No. 3 Utah did well enough without two seniors to tie a team that will be an NCAA favorite in April the way it is competing.
The Utes, judging from the performance, could be in the thick of things, too, if they continue to improve.
The main emphasis in the coming weeks will be with landings.
"We were in a position to put that meet away on floor, but it was a combination of Stanford doing an exceptionally good job on the beam and us not being precise with our landings," Marsden said. "We aren't making big mistakes, but we aren't hitting clean landings, either, and we're giving the judges too many opportunities to take deductions. If we would have cleaned that up, we would have picked up the tenths to win the meet."Now that the freshmen have competed in hostile arenas and in pressure situations, they feel they have a better grasp of what collegiate gymnastics is all about and believe they can continue to improve, Mary Beth Lofgren said.
"We keep focusing on what we need to do and pushing forward," she said. "We can always improve and get better."
Senior Jacquelyn Johnson, who missed Friday's meet with concussion-like symptoms, might not be ready for Friday's meet against Arizona State.
"As she does some work, we'll see how her symptoms are," Marsden said. "It's going to be a gradual thing."
Friday's meet against Arizona State is Breast Cancer Awareness Night, which has a special meaning to the Utes because former gymnast Annabeth Eberle was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent a mastectomy, but didn't have to have chemotherapy or radiation. The 27-year-old was an eight-time All-American from 2002-05 and was recently accepted to physician's assistant school.
In the rankings
Florida maintained its spot at No. 1 followed by Stanford.
Utah's Stephanie McAllister is ranked No. 9 in the all-around (39.294) and Mary Beth Lofgren is No. 13 (39.225). Freshman Victoria Shanley is No. 11 on the vault (9.875), McAllister is No. 9 on the uneven bars (9.856), Gael Mackie is No. 12 on the uneven bars (9.844) and No. 5 on the floor (9.875).
SUU's Ari Lamb is No. 8 on the balance beam (9.844).
BYU, which tied Iowa State with a 194.925 Saturday, travels to LSU on Friday. â¦ SUU, which was third in BYU's quad meet with a 194.275, hosts Utah State on Friday at 7 p.m. The Aggies scored a 191.9 in the quad meet. Gymnastics Rankings
7. Oregon State*195.595*7
No. 19 SUU*194.563*16
No. 27 BYU*194.0*NR